Inspired by mussels, a strong adhesive

Inductiveload [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Bivalve mollusks, such as the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, inhabit coastal waters, attached firmly to rocks and other fixed substrates despite the wet environment and continual, sometimes intense, tidal and wave action. Mussels achieve this remarkable feat by secreting unique protein-based adhesive materials that cement them to their chosen surfaces. These adhesives cure quickly and hold fast, even in wet conditions and on all kinds of surfaces—properties that make them well-suited to myriad clinical applications in addition to their original purpose. Hemostasis, wound closure and healing, dental and bone repair, tissue engineering, device implantation and drug delivery could all benefit richly from these characteristics. As a result, various researchers have attempted to develop bioadhesives based on mussel adhesive proteins, either by isolating and purifying the natural compounds or by synthesizing their mimics in the lab.

Lab Anim. (NY) 42, 76 (2013).
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